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Hundreds Pack Hearing to Save Rock Run and Loyalsock State Forest from Fracking

June 4, 2013
Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings are one of the Loyalsock State Forest’s best-dressed residents, Here, a pair pass a berry back and forth during courtship. Photo: Wikipedia.

Last night, over 400 people packed a hearing in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, to let both the gas drilling industry and state authorities know that the people are drawing a line in the sand when it comes to Anadarko’s plans to frack a sacred place — Rock Run, in the Loyalsock State Forest — to bits.

The PA Department of Conservation of Natural Resources (DCNR), which ran the show last night, acknowledged that the short-term and cumulative impacts of the planned shale gas development in the exceptionally wild and beautiful Loyalsock State Forest would be “substantial.” But DCNR claims to not have the power to stop Anadarko, only to mitigate the destruction.

The people testifying powerfully for hours last night absolutely want to stop Anadarko. Many believe they do have the power to drive Anadarko away from this gem, with its pristine waters, uninterrupted viewsheds, waterfalls and wildlife. RDA, a grassroots shale gas resistance group based in Williamsport, was a prime mover behind the large turnout, supported by allies including Shale Justice, Marcellus Earth First, Protecting Our Waters, PennEnvironment, and many grassroots groups. The Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, State Representative Mirabito, and the Audubon Society all came out against fracking in the Loyalsock. All affirmed RDA’s message to DCNR: “Keep Drillers Out.  Do Your Job. Keep It Wild!”

Fracking well pad in early stages of construction: photo by Bob Deering, shared in “Our Dream Home Has Become a Nightmare,” on RDA website.

DCNR revealed that the planned industrial assault on the Loyalsock, including its remote and “semi-primitive” areas, would include 26 well pads, 34 miles of pipeline, and about 15 miles each of new roads and “improved” roads throughout sensitive and treasured forest. DCNR promised the public there would be no open fracking waste pits, but said nothing about flaring, and horrified the crowd with a map showing four large planned compressor stations within the Loyalsock State Forest.

While the ocean of people packed into the Lycoming College auditorium last night abounded with residents from Lycoming and nearby counties, people also came from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and rural areas across the state — Bradford County in the northeast, Blair County to the south, and more — to testify against any fracking in the forest.  Passions ran high. Not one Pennsylvanian spoke in favor of fracking the forest. Neither Anadarko representatives nor any other gas drilling industry representatives showed their face in public or uttered a word at the hearing.

To learn more, and to join in a “Keep it Wild” hike on June 29th in the Loyalsock State Forest, visit or call 570-494-7583.

We will publish photographs and testimony from last night’s hearing in the near future. Here is one set of arguments and images from philosophy professor Wendy Lynne Lee, previously published on Raging Chicken press, making the case:

Is there nothing sacred? Comments for DCNR Hearing to Frack Loyalsock State Forest

by  • May 28, 2013

Comments for DCNR Hearing Concerning Anadarko Petroleum’s Permit Application to Frack Loyalsock State Forest, Lycoming College, Wendle Hall, 4-6PM, 6.3.13

My name is Wendy Lynne Lee, and I’m a member of the Shale Justice Coalition. I’m an academic and a writer by profession, and a committed activist on behalf of social justice, animal welfare, and environmental integrity.ImageI also take a lot of pictures, and I have made it my project to document in words and photographs the drill pads, sand cans, compressors, open pits, the army of toxic waste tankers, the loss of habitat, the forest fragmentation, the creek and stream pollution, the substandard pipeline welds, the road destruction, the systematic decimation of plant, bird, mammal and aquatic wildlife, the spills, accidents, illnesses, and deaths caused directly or indirectly by industrialized fossil fuel extraction.ImageI am directly acquainted with the efforts of paid industry shills to silence and demonize public outcry, and I understand that for some, worn down by the ad hominems, the ridicule, and the industry lies, magnificent ecologies like Rock Run, the Clarence Moore Lands, Old Logger’s Path, and Devil’s Elbow Natural Area perhaps represent just one more ugly casualty in the quest for obscene profits.ImageBut Loyalsock is more than just another casualty. Here’s why:If we allow fracking and its polluting infrastructure here, there is nowhere left to call sacred. And when there’s nothing left to conceive as sacred, there’s nothing left. This is not because some places are more sacred than others; it’s not because we are prone, as the industry would have it, to some emotion that deters our capacity for reason and fact.  It’s not even because “sacred” need have meaning beyond the tangible world.It’s because if we allow for the industrialized extraction of one of the last truly wild places, we effectively concede any morally defensible claim we can ever make to care about an earth not wholly despoiled by human greed.If we allow fracking here, we have literally no ground

upon which to take a stand anywhere.


And anywhere matters.

Anywhere includes the farms, the forests, the game lands, the parks, the communities, and our homes everywhere. Just as there is no negotiating with a psychopath, there is no negotiating with an industry who routinely resorts to bribery, economic coersion, extortion, manipulation, and green-washing to insure the smooth transition of verdant ecosystem to off-shore back account.


What I have seen over the last three years, what I have tried to document, read, research, and report makes clear to me—and to anyone who gives a tinker’s damn—is that the prospect of fracking in the Loyalsock, its neighboring lands, its far-flung regions, and the earth it forests is not merely immoral; it is absurd.

Industrialized extraction violates the very spirit of the Pennsylvania Constitution.


Even more appalling, it undermines our wherewithal to act as responsible global citizens in the effort to mitigate climate change.

“Trust us” is the constant refrain we hear from the industry. “Clean, natural, abundant, and American!”

But we all know better.

In fact, we all know that this hearing is a charade and a farce—at least unless we the citizens demand that the Loyalsock’s DCNR marionettes, its elected representative puppets, and their corporate string-pullers listen—and then that they act on behalf of the Commonwealth.


What is even more absurd it that industrialized extraction is so wholly needless. We have alternatives. We are capable of significant conservation. What we lack is the political will and the courage to see the world liberated from the tyranny of Big Energy and the money-slimed collusion of government.


We must put an end to our resigned cynicism.

I am not here to ask nicely that my hiking trails not be obliterated.

I am here to demand an end to industrialized extraction.


No, Andarko. No, Inergy, No, CNYOG. You may not destroy the conditions of my and my children’s lives for the sake of your obscene profits.

You may not have the Loyalsock on my watch without resistance.

I, for one, will fight.

Wendy Lynne Lee

Also see:

  1. June 4, 2013 4:48 pm

    I have said enough. I’m glad you have the patience. —-FFF——

  2. wlee7 permalink
    June 5, 2013 4:18 pm

    Thank you so much, Iris, for including my comments. I read these with a ferocity I rarely muster–and I am pretty animated by nature (see photo-icon). This matters so much to me. I hike there. I have enjoyed some of my best days on the Old Logger’s path. And Loyalsock represents so much more than a place. It represents the idea that we can simply no longer (if we really ever could) destroy with impunity. Once we have gotten ourselves to this point–where we are willing to compromise and kill this sort of beauty–we are acting out of nothing but desperation–and, of course, greed. Our avarice might be endless–but our earth and her resources are not.


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